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03.08.17

Brexit Alliance: Urgent agreement needed on key NHS priority areas

NHS patients stand to lose out if the government does not give issues like healthcare research and access to new medicines the attention they deserve when trying to untangle from the European Union, the Brexit Health Alliance has warned.

The alliance, first unveiled by NHS Confederation’s Niall Dickson during his organisation’s annual conference, said the Brexit negotiating team must strive to protect the interests of patients by focusing on key priority areas that require early agreement.

“Patients stand to lose out if we cannot go on collaborating in major medical research studies; if we cannot access new treatments and medical devices as we do now; and if UK nationals in the EU are no longer able to benefit from access to healthcare abroad, and vice versa,” said Dickson.

The priority areas outlined by the alliance team, which brings together the NHS, medical research, industry, patients and public health organisations, include:

  • Maximum levels of research and innovation collaboration
  • Regulatory alignment for the benefit of patients and population health
  • Preservation of reciprocal healthcare arrangements
  • Robust co-ordination mechanisms on public health and wellbeing
  • A strong funding commitment to the health and public sector leaders

It is both in Europe’s and the UK’s interests to maintain co-operation on all these areas, the alliance argued.

As well as focusing on research and innovation, the team is calling on the government to preserve the right of EU citizens to receive healthcare. While the prime minister has pledged to keep EU staff in the UK after Brexit and has outlined plans for a special ID register, a firm commitment is yet to be announced with regards to access to public services.

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